Ecological Adaptations of Seaweeds


In this course, we will explore the evolution, ecology and biodiversity of seaweeds and discuss ecological adaptations that have allowed them to thrive and diversify over time.  We will discuss the deep evolution of photosynthesis and the process of endosymbiosis that gave rise to photosynthetic protists, known as “algae.” We will learn the defining characteristics of the major algal groups, including red, green, and brown macroalgae. We will identify many local species to genus and species, and we will discuss modern molecular approaches to distinguishing cryptic species. We will measure the physiological performance of seaweeds and consider physiological adaptations that permit them to resist environmental stresses, such as temperature and desiccation stress, particularly during low tide. We will quantify biomechanical properties of seaweeds that allow them to resist breaking or dislodgement under crashing waves during high tide. We will discuss seaweed ecology, including resource competition, facilitation, and herbivore defense, and we will consider the ecological impact of algal blooms.  The course will emphasize field trips and hands-on activities to complement daily lectures, discussions, and presentations.

Note: Students are not permitted to take both our Summer seaweeds course (Biodiversity of Seaweeds) and Fall Semester seaweeds course (Ecological Adaptations of Seaweeds) for credit.

Boat Use: You will be given the opportunity to drive boats if you choose to do so. Boat driving is recommended but not required for the BMSC Fall Program. Students who wish to drive boats at BMSC must hold a PCOC and valid first aid certificate and will participate in an introductory boat check-out on the first day of orientation


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Students say…

“Field trips, definitely stand out. Extremely exciting and fun. The flume lab and kelp-stretching lab were extremely fun, as well as the PAM fluorometry lab. Good experience with lab techniques.”

“Patrick [Martone] is super knowledgeable about algae, a good lecturer, always prepared, taught us lots of cool stuff and was happy to help us. …he was very approachable and fair.”

“Patrick was a phenomenal professor. He constantly inspired us to get ridiculously excited about seaweed! Seaweed! His joy and boundless knowledge made for an excellent three weeks.”